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Sandpoint rolls out two new sushi restaurants

click to enlarge Some casual sushi from Big Tuna. - CARRIE SCOZZARO
  • Carrie Scozzaro
  • Some casual sushi from Big Tuna.

This summer saw the opening of two new sushi restaurants in Sandpoint, one at either end of the Long Bridge, both from existing area restaurant-owners. In town, Little Olive’s John and Tullaya Akins, rolled out Big Tuna, a casual eatery adjacent to their existing Mediterranean-themed locale. Just across Lake Pend Oreille, at the point where Sandpoint becomes Sagle, Cassandra Cayson opened Shoga in a formerly unused space next door to her restaurant, Forty-One South.

Big Tuna is a hangin’ loose kind of place with bright turquoise walls and indoor picnic table-style seating. Order at the counter from a menu that includes standard rolls and customizable options. Try Crunchie Munchie ($8.95), a cucumber roll with shrimp, tempura bits and sweet chili. Or the groovy 208 Roll with salmon, spinach and sprouts ($9.95). In addition to a modest beer and wine selection, Big Tuna serves sake straight up ($5-17) or in such cleverly-named drinks as the Cool Hand Luke: dry sake, muddled cucumber, lime, cilantro and tonic ($6).

For a little fancier digs and a broader menu, check out Shoga, which combines Japanese decor and a Northwest lodge-like setting. Think kimonos on pine paneling with red linen napkins, white china, black tables and a river rock fireplace.

Besides decor, prices are unexpected. A good sushi dinner, as fans can attest, might set you back $30 a piece; our meal of four shared plates and a beer was $40 with tax. The Hamanegi (yellowtail, green onions) and Walu (escolar) rolls were both buttery smooth ($5 each), a nice complement to our crunchy vegetable tempura roll ($8).

Entree options include the typical chicken ($10) or beef ($12.50) teriyaki and some fusion variations like the 1/3-pound Kobe burger with ginger aioli ($11). The Kake-Udon is a savory Dashi broth with sautéed vegetables and tofu over tender Udon noodles ($9), perfect for a chilly winter evening.

Look for new menu options at both locations, as well as special events listed on their websites or Facebook pages.

Shoga at Forty-One South • 41 Fish Hatchery Road, Sagle • Open Wed-Thu 4:30-9 pm, Fri-Sat 4:30-10 pm, Sun 4:30-9 pm • shogasushi.com • (208) 265-2000.

Big Tuna • 24 S. 2nd Ave, Sandpoint • Open Mon-Fri 11 am-8 pm, Sat 4-8 pm • bigtunaroll.com • (208) 597-7498.

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